Children, like adults, encounter loneliness. Some of the reasons include bullying, a lack of social skills, physical location of the home, a lack of transportation, relocating, not being allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities, parents being separated or divorced, a special adult leaving or losing a friend.
Loneliness can affect our health and wellness, the way we think about ourselves and even the way we think about others.
The following are strategies we can teach children to use to cope with loneliness:
Learn skills about friendships.
Begin something new, like exercising, walking the dog, solving puzzles, or joining a group or club.
Write letters to relatives or friends. (Lots of children's magazines have a page for children from around the world who want pen friends.)
Find chat rooms on children's sites (but remind children not to share any personal details, like names and addresses.
Invite someone over to play, go to the movies or watch a DVD.
Talk about your feelings to the adults in your home, your teacher, school counselor or another trusted adult.
If something bad is happening and you feel scared and alone, ask for help from a trusted adult.
Teach others a new skill, for example, skateboarding tricks, sewing or playing an instrument.
Think about others and their feelings.
My Friends Lived in the Outlet chronicles events in the life of Jeremiah, a young child who combats loneliness using his imagination. It offers children strategies and encourages them to look internally for solutions to challenges they face. The story also reminds adults of the importance of play and that play is far more than play; it's an opportunity for children to develop their intellect, creativity and imagination. Note the quotes below regarding play, and visit www.BJsBigDream.com for pre-ordering information.
(This, my friends, is the equivalent of an adult, executive meeting, in case you didn't know.)
The Importance of Play
"Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity."
Kay Redfield Jamison
"Children learn as they play. Most importantly in play children learn how to learn."
O. Fred Donaldson
"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
"Enter into children's play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet."
"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
Ralph Waldo Emerson